Staff Profiles

Karel Svoboda, Ph.D.

HHMI Janelia Research Campus

Karel Svoboda is a group leader at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus. Svoboda’s work is at the intersection of neuronal biophysics and cognition. His goal is to identify core principles underlying information processing in cortical circuits and related structures. His lab has performed a detailed analysis of the representation of tactile information in the somatosensory cortex on millisecond time scales, at the level of individual action potentials, and in defined cell types. A current focus is to investigate how movements are planned and executed by neural circuits of the motor cortex. Svoboda is also developing new methods to interrogate neural function in intact brains. Notable contributions include microscopy methods to image synapses over long time scales in the intact brain; the development of sensitive fluorescent protein sensors for noninvasive imaging of neural activity; microscopes with very large fields of view that enable imaging multiple brain regions with single neurons resolution. Svoboda was born in Prague in1965, then part of Czechoslovakia, and grew up in West Germany. He graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Physics (1988) and from Harvard University with a PhD in Biophysics (1994). He was a postdoctoral fellow at Bell Laboratories (until 1997) and a principal investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories (until 2006). Svoboda was awarded the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award (2004) and the Brain Prize from the Lundbeck Foundation (2015). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).